Phishing and Information Theft Are Becoming More Widespread

Communication via email is commonplace in today’s digital world. Because of this, fraudsters have been utilizing email phishing tactics for decades in an attempt to steal personally identifiable information (PII) and/or account credentials from unsuspecting people.

Today, however, as consumers become more aware of this kind of attack, identity thieves have had to increasingly deploy more and more sophisticated phishing email schemes in order to accomplish their goals. As soon as someone falls victim to a phishing email, cyber criminals and fraudsters then have the information they need to fraudulently open or access accounts as well as purchase goods and services.

According to our third annual Fraud Report, phishing is becoming more widespread as fraudsters retool their methods of attack. Information theft has increased, as well. We expect this to be, at least in part, a result of the widespread data breaches that have continued to plague an array of industries.

Understanding these techniques and how robust identity verification platforms fight to prevent fraud allows organizations to help stop fraudsters in their tracks while also ensuring that legitimate consumers are quickly and easily approved, with no added friction.

Sophisticated Phishing Emails Designed to Trick

Remember when someone would receive an email from a person claiming to be a member of a foreign royal family promising them untold riches if they provided them with their personal information and banking information? While these messages were designed to be created quickly and cheaply, and sent to everyone possible, in hopes of netting a few victims, fraudsters are now putting more thought and effort into their approach.

Today, there are entire teams of fraudsters working together to carefully comb through a company’s organizational chart for potential targets. Their goal is to infiltrate an organization, usually by simply one person clicking on a bad link. According to an article on, security expert Brian Krebs believes there will be an increase in more targeted and personalized phishing attacks. “Expect phishers and other password thieves to up their game in 2016,” said Krebs.

Fraudsters are now able to send emails that appear to be legitimate and victims are then more likely to open a message and click on a link. This technique is called spear phishing, which is a targeted approach to phishing, and it can have devastating effects on an organization. Not only can it result in malware being installed on a work machine, it can also lead to fraudsters gaining access to proprietary information and other data that can be sold on the Dark Web.

What Does This Mean for Organizations?

Spear phishing and other forms of information theft pose a major threat to organizations. On one hand, spear phishing can lead to a data breach and substantial losses. At the same time, fraudsters can use this to target individuals and, eventually, monitor their activity to learn their account credentials and passwords. Fraudsters then use this information to assume identities, and defraud organizations by attempting to access accounts and purchase products illegally.

Professional cyber criminals that execute these phishing attacks have the potential to go undetected without the proper measures in place. It’s important to have the right tools for your organization, to be able to detect when suspicious activity occurs, and to react as necessary to keep the situation under control.

Educating both employees and customers on the nature of spear phishing attacks and what characteristics to look for will help reduce the number of cases that occur. Robust identity verification and fraud prevention systems also help by deterring fraud, giving organizations a collaborative tool they can use to spot rising fraud trends Learn more about top fraud trends in IDology’s 2015 Fraud Report, and request an online demonstration of IDology’s fraud prevention solution, by contacting a representative today at (866) 520-1234.

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